The Book Of J-Bad…

Badham_BookOne of the mission prerogatives for ‘THE SPECIAL’ Is to keep Thunderfans appraised of all relevant news and merchandise both vintage and current.

What a pleasure, then, to discover that one of Hollywood’s most prolific Auteurs has put pen to paper to share his wisdom and experiences with the rest of us.  Why should we care?  Because the author is none other than Blue Thunder director John Badham.

JBMore an anecdotal ‘How to’ rather than a straightforward autobiography, the new book ‘Badham on Directing’ may well prove to be an indispensable user guide for aspiring filmmakers.

Exerpted below are passages from a recent interview by cult website Topless Robot, where interestingly, Brit-born Badham is keen to cite Blue Thunder as the adult-oriented opening to his signature ’80’s Techno-trilogy –

LYT: I wanted to ask you a question about technology in general, since you’ve made two sort of iconic movies: Short Circuit and WarGames, that both ultimately come to the conclusion that technology that we create to destroy will ultimately become benevolent. Was that a coincidental theme that you just happened to like the stories and that was the theme there, or was that something you really think about a lot?

JB: Yeah, I would actually add into that and make a little trilogy, adding in Blue Thunder, because Blue Thunder deals with a lot of stuff that we’re looking at right now very hard – government’s intrusion into our lives and how much intrusion is okay. Blue Thunder was released before the year 1984; that was an iconic year because of George Orwell’s novel all about government intrusion, looking into the future. All three of these films deal with the dangers of technology and how it can go off-track, sometimes in a very funny way, as in Short Circuit, or in scary ways, as in the other films. We’ve always been worried about how computers can go wrong, but what we’re seeing mostly is either computers going wrong mechanically, or because of elaborate hacking designed for pretty malevolent criminal purposes.

bluedirectorLYT: When I was a kid, I was a huge fan of the Blue Thunder TV series, which I think lasted an entire season.

JB: Right, right; just one season.

LYT: I don’t think any of those themes really made it into the show, did they? How did you feel about the show, in general?

JB: I was not a fan of the show. I had a lot of troubles with it. I think they just were looking to make an entertainment, and it was kind of, not a clone, but a copy of The A-Team. It became that pretty quickly. As I told them when they talked to me first about it, I said “I know you’re not going to be able to fly that helicopter very much – it’s bloody expensive! And on a TV show budget, I don’t think that’s really in the cards.” Sure enough, after 3 or 4 or 5 episodes, they put people down on the ground in a big van, running around that way, doing something more affordable, and forgetting about any themes of invasion of privacy, or anything like that. It just became another cop show.

Full interview can be found here.  Book is now available from Amazon.com and will be released towards the end of the month on Amazon.co.uk.  Review in future post…

Tonnerre De Feu Pt.2…

BT_French7BT_French11BT_French9BT_French10BT_French8BT_French12Presenting the second half of the French lobby card collection in order of sequence – Notice that the beauty shot of the chopper (fourth pic down) is ‘flipped’ – an unfortunate common occurrence when images are taken from slides.  Also notice the continuity error of Murphy’s lack of green wristbands (top pic) which would miraculously re-appear after take-off.  Interestingly, the simulated devastation caused by the the F-16 missile at street level (bottom pic) in other lobby sets/posters actually show the crane setup and the skip of debris as its dropped on the poor extras…

Coming soon, German Theatrical Programme and Part 2 of the American Cinematographer features…

AKA Tonnerre De Feu…

BT_French1BT_French2BT_French3BT_French4BT_French5BT_French6The worldwide campaign for Blue Thunder yielded some interesting translations.  In Europe it would be known as Das Fliegende Auge (Germany) Sininen Salama (Finland) and Tuono Blu (Italy).  Go here for the full obscure list but for now we are hovering over France where it was known as Tonnerre De Feu.

This vintage set of 12 (second half to follow in next post) French 10×8 full colour lobby cards are among the sharpest examples I’ve seen and came undisturbed in their original brown exhibitors (Warner-Columbia Film) envelope.  To brand them cards is a stretch as they are actually no more than prints on the thinnest paper so have endured well over the last 30 or so years…